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Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations

by

Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations Cover

ISBN13: 9780520258068
ISBN10: 0520258061
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Out of Print

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Dirt, soil, call it what you want--it's everywhere we go. It is the root of our existence, supporting our feet, our farms, our cities. This fascinating yet disquieting book finds, however, that we are running out of dirt, and it's no laughing matter. An engaging natural and cultural history of soil that sweeps from ancient civilizations to modern times, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations explores the compelling idea that we are--and have long been--using up Earth's soil. Once bare of protective vegetation and exposed to wind and rain, cultivated soils erode bit by bit, slowly enough to be ignored in a single lifetime but fast enough over centuries to limit the lifespan of civilizations. A rich mix of history, archaeology and geology, Dirt traces the role of soil use and abuse in the history of Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, China, European colonialism, Central America, and the American push westward. We see how soil has shaped us and we have shaped soil--as society after society has risen, prospered, and plowed through a natural endowment of fertile dirt. David R. Montgomery sees in the recent rise of organic and no-till farming the hope for a new agricultural revolution that might help us avoid the fate of previous civilizations.

Synopsis:

"From this gritty and compelling state-of-our-earth report comes the inescapable truth that we are nothing if not dirty-minded. A brilliant and essential book."--Roger Swain, science editor of Horticulture magazine

"The relationship between soils and societies has been crucial for humankind for 10,000 years. David Montgomery brings a geomorphologist's eye and a world-historical vision to the subject, showing why it demands our attention."--J.R. McNeill, author of Something New Under the Sun

"In our cyber-charged age, it's easy to forget that all six billion of us stand on the thin skin of the earth. Humanity is agriculture and agriculture is soil, just as it has been for 10,000 years. David Montgomery--a competent digger of dirt and an engaging storyteller--shows how a close look at the soil can reveal a surprising amount about who we are and where we are headed."--Richard Manning, author of Against the Grain: How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization

About the Author

David R. Montgomery, Professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington, is author of King of Fish: The Thousand-Year Run of Salmon.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

1. Good Old Dirt

2. Skin of the Earth

3. Rivers of Life

4. Graveyard of Empires

5. Let Them Eat Colonies

6. Westward Hoe

7. Dust Blow

8. Dirty Business

9. Islands in Time

10. Life Span of Civilizations

Notes

Bibliography

Index

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Duane Hopper, February 7, 2009 (view all comments by Duane Hopper)
Please let us dine less well on our ever depleting construct as suggested in this work.

We must eliminate reliance on agricultural innovations to feed us. Perhaps the best solution will be to allow the depletion of soil resources to occur so that the population dependent upon them will diminish--in other words, die from malnutrition.

If we follow the projections of this advice, then, we are indeed doomed to mass dying.

Perhaps there are other opinions, including actual evidence contrary to such doom and gloom projections as evidenced over the last 50+ years of agricultural innovations....

Malthus is once again evident in this work--and, as before, not credible.



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(2 of 22 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520258068
Subtitle:
The Erosion of Civilizations
Author:
Montgomery, David R
Author:
Montgomery, David R.
Publisher:
University of California Press
Subject:
World - General
Subject:
Earth Sciences - Geology
Subject:
Ecology
Subject:
Civilization
Subject:
General Nature
Subject:
World History-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20081002
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
296
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.75 in 17 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Western Civilization » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Western Civilization
Science and Mathematics » Agriculture » General
Science and Mathematics » Agriculture » Soil
Science and Mathematics » Geology » General

Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations Used Trade Paper
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$13.95 In Stock
Product details 296 pages University of California Press - English 9780520258068 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
"From this gritty and compelling state-of-our-earth report comes the inescapable truth that we are nothing if not dirty-minded. A brilliant and essential book."--Roger Swain, science editor of Horticulture magazine

"The relationship between soils and societies has been crucial for humankind for 10,000 years. David Montgomery brings a geomorphologist's eye and a world-historical vision to the subject, showing why it demands our attention."--J.R. McNeill, author of Something New Under the Sun

"In our cyber-charged age, it's easy to forget that all six billion of us stand on the thin skin of the earth. Humanity is agriculture and agriculture is soil, just as it has been for 10,000 years. David Montgomery--a competent digger of dirt and an engaging storyteller--shows how a close look at the soil can reveal a surprising amount about who we are and where we are headed."--Richard Manning, author of Against the Grain: How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization

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